Spikes rally for late-game tie, but ninth-inning homer lifts Muckdogs, 4-3

STATE COLLEGE – The State College Spikes battled back from down three runs to tie the game in the eighth inning, but Ryan Aper’s home run in the ninth inning was the difference as the Batavia Muckdogs took a 4-3 decision on Friday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

State College (10-8) faced a 3-0 deficit in the bottom of the third inning as Batavia (8-8) put up a trifecta in the top half. However, David Washington would key the Spikes’ resurgence as his RBI single in the fourth plated Bruce Caldwell with the first State College run. Washington then doubled and scored on a Muckdogs error in the sixth to bring the Spikes within a run.

Carson Kelly knotted the game, 3-3, in the eighth inning with an RBI single to bring in Mason Katz after Katz had walked, stolen second and stolen third in succession.

Aper would go on to lead off the ninth inning with his home run to left field off Jeff Rauh (1-2). The Spikes threatened in the ninth after Matthew Young hustled to extend a single into a double, but stranded him there to end the game.

Caldwell and Brian Vigo joined Washington and Young in notching doubles for State College. Vigo, Kelly and Steven Ramos all picked up multiple base hits for the Spikes as well.

Rauh came on in the eighth inning and gave up just Aper’s home run and a walk over his two innings. The right-hander also struck out one.

Batavia reliever Dane Stone (1-0) ceded the lead in the eighth inning, but got credit for the win. Stone allowed a run on a total of three hits and a walk while striking out two over two innings of work. Colby Suggs (1), the Marlins’ second-round pick out of Arkansas, pitched the ninth and earned his first pro save. Suggs struck out one.

Scott Carcaise knocked in a pair of runs for the Muckdogs with his third-inning double, while Austin Dean singled twice and Avery Romero hit a pair of doubles.

Saturday, the Spikes and Muckdogs complete their three-game set at Medlar Field with a 7:05 p.m. matchup. State College will go with right-hander Chris Perry (1-0) on the mound, while Batavia is slated to start right-hander Trevor Williams (0-0). Perry and Williams started against each other on Sunday at Dwyer Stadium, with neither figuring in the decision.